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DOJ: Former NESN employee sentenced to prison for stealing $500k from company, buying private plane

BOSTON — A former New England Sports Network (NESN) employee was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Tuesday for fraudulently obtaining half a million dollars from the company, according to authorities.

Ariel Legassa, 52, of Connecticut, will face 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani also ordered Legassa to pay restitution and forfeiture of $580,000 and a $1,000 special assessment.

From December 2020 to January 2022, Legassa, who negotiated a contract with a New York company to provide web development services for the sports broadcaster, created a fake business using this vendor’s name as the new vendor, according to the Department of Justice. Using this company name, Legassa created and approved 11 fake invoices from his fake business to defraud NESN out of $500,000.

He reportedly used these funds on a private plane, a Tesla, a BMW, a Land Rover, and credit card bills.

In November 2023, Legassa was convicted of seven counts of mail fraud and three counts of unlawful monetary transactions.

“This was brazen fraud driven by the defendant’s greed,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “Mr. Legassa violated the faith NESN placed in him as a senior executive to game circumvent the company’s internal controls and line his own pocket. This type of criminal conduct is not just about the stolen money. The abuse of trust inherent in these types of sophisticated white collar schemes leaves a trail of victims.”

Boston 25 News has reached out to NESN for comment.

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